10 Things to Protect Reproductive Rights, Stop Kavanaugh
Dozens of pieces have thoughtfully itemized how Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court pick, will destroy abortion rights, gut religious freedom, and send us back to the pre-civil rights dark ages.
But Kavanaugh’s approval is not a foregone conclusion. Even Mitch McConnell cautioned the president that the large volume of documents Kavanaugh produced as an appeals court judge could make it difficult for him to gain approval. Progressives and moderates can and should fight back against this nominee.
I’ve warned before that the wailing and gnashing of teeth about how hopeless everything is plays right into the hands of the far-right. They want liberals to feel overwhelmed and demoralized, because then it’s easier to force their policies on all of us. Rather than wasting one more second feeling hopeless or convincing others that the end is nigh, we all need to focus on taking meaningful action.
There’s still plenty we can do to stop or slow Kavanaugh’s nomination. And even if he makes it to the bench, progressives can fight back against the assault on reproductive rights. Here are 10 things you can do—many in just a few minutes, most from home.
Contact Moderate Senators
If the entire caucus of Democrats votes against Kavanaugh, then if one Republican defects, his nomination will fail. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have voted with Trump 80% of the time, but have also signaled that they care about public feedback and do not want to see an end to choice. Call Susan Collins at (202) 224-2523, and Lisa Murkowski at (202) 224-6665. Urge them to protect women and choice, and highlight the catastrophic effects of a world without choice.
Contact Your Senators
There’s no guarantee that every Democrat will vote against Kavanaugh. So turn up the pressure. Remind them that you can vote them out, and that there are consequences for their vote. Contact the two senators for your state. If you have a Republican senator, go ahead and call them, too. Remind them that they’re accountable to all constituents—not just the conservative ones.
Know the Laws in Your State
Roe vs. Wade enshrined privacy as a Constitutional right, thereby making it illegal for states to create undue burdens on this right. Many states had legalized abortion well before this landmark decision. So ultimately—unless a federal anti-abortion law passes, which is unlikely—abortion rights really depend on what the states do. Get to know the laws in your state, then lobby to end those that reduce access or that could ultimately eliminate choice.
Help Fund a Woman’s Abortion
Abortion has always been accessible to the wealthy. So an end to abortion rights is really about an end to abortion rights for the poor. Even though abortion is technically legal, it remains out of reach for many poor women. Waiting periods force women to travel long distances overnight. Lack of insurance coverage forces women to try to put together funds, only to find themselves paying for a more expensive second trimester abortion—or to discover that their state has banned this procedure.
Take direct action by contacting your local abortion clinic and offering to pay for the abortion of a woman in need. Help fund a friend’s abortion. Or donate to the National Network of Abortion Funds. For many women, choice exists only in theory. Help make it a reality by putting your money where your politics are.
Pressure Local Officials for Protective Legislation
Anti-choice activists have long lobbied states to limit choice. Now pro-choice activists are taking a page out of their playbook and lobbying for protective legislation. Abortion is ultimately a local issue. So lobby your local representatives to protect choice rights. Here’s a great list of some of the ways local officials have worked to enshrine women’s rights to control their bodies.
Show Up at Your State Legislature
It’s a lot harder to ignore your constituents when they show up at your office every day. It’s even harder to ignore them if they film you when you dismiss or insult them. Start showing up at your state legislature. Attend committee meetings. Go to your representatives’ office hours. Make your voice heard and your presence known.
Get Involved With Local Groups
Local groups can connect you to resources in your community, offer advocacy skills training, and even prepare you to run for political office. NARAL is a great national level resources that can help connect you to groups in your community. Sign up to volunteer here.
Vote (and Help Others Vote)
Every election matters. That’s doubly true at the local level. Local regulations can push back and make abortion more accessible. Or they can further restrict choice—or even ban it outright. So it’s critical to vote not just in the big elections, but in every election. Spend some time researching each candidate after viewing a sample ballot here.
Help other people vote, too. Post election reminders on social media. Ask your friends if they’ve voted. Drive them to their polling places. Or volunteer to help register people to vote.
Protest and Obstruct at Every Level
Roe could end if Kavanaugh secures the seat for which he was nominated. We might not be able to stop him. That doesn’t mean choice has to die. Local regulations matter just as much as the Supreme Court. And elected officials—even conservative ones—do not want to be voted out. So obstruct and protest every chance you get. Show up to protest anti-choicers at their office hours, at restaurants, and out in public. Don’t shop at anti-choice organizations. The very least any of us can do is make it hard to be opposed to women’s rights.
Support Your Local Abortion Clinic
Your local abortion clinic is already on the frontlines of the fight for reproductive rights. They may need clinic escorts or other volunteers. Some work with paid or volunteer lobbyists to tackle important legislation in their state. Many, such as the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta, offer coordinated advocacy days and training for activists. Find a list of abortion clinics by state here.